earthquake reconstruction in Haiti slow
A local OPADEL worker sets the foundation of the gabion house in Nippes. Love A Child nonprofit is part of one nonprofit organization's house reconstruction efforts Photo by LAC.

DUCHITY — Across idyllic farmlands in the rolling mountains of southwestern Haiti, coconut palms wave in the breeze over a hamlet of concrete-block houses. One home, damaged eight months ago during the earthquake of August 2021, still has two-inch cracks across its face. At another, an orange tarp hangs where a wall once stood. 

“At the beginning the people saw a lot of mobilization about the earthquake — other countries promised some big amount. NGOs like UNICEF, Remodel, USAID said on social media they will stand with the Haitian people,” said Fritz-Gerald Polyte, a photographer in Duchity. “The people believed that NGOs and the government would help them rebuild their houses. Unfortunately, the NGOs helped them only with tarps — not building materials."

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J.O. Haselhoef is the author of “Give & Take: Doing Our Damnedest NOT to be Another Charity in Haiti.” She co-founded "Yonn Ede Lot" (One Helping Another), a nonprofit that partnered with volunteer groups in La Montagne ("Lamontay"), Haiti from 2007-2013. She is a 2022 Fellow for the Columbia School of Journalism's Age Boom Academy. She writes and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.